Nokia Exec: Huawei’s 5G Technology Is a Security Risk
The Finnish company’s CTO referenced a report from US security firm Finite State, which found that Huawei devices carry greater security risks. Nokia is a direct competitor with Huawei in 5G networking equipment.
Finnish smartphone manufacturer Nokia, which is currently competing with Huawei to provide 5G technology, said that the Chinese company’s technology has vulnerabilities in its networking equipment.
Nokia chief technology officer Marcus Weldon pointed to a report from US security firm Finite State, which states that “Huawei devices are less secure than comparable devices from other vendors.”
Weldon also said that pressure from the United States is acting as a market balance to the advantages Huawei has had in the past, reports the BBC. Nokia has since distanced itself from Weldon’s comments, stating they do “not reflect the official position of Nokia.”
“We were disadvantaged in the past relative to the practices that the Chinese were allowed to have in terms of funding mechanisms,” said Weldon. He went on to say that Huawei’s vulnerabilities were caused by “sloppiness, honestly, that they haven’t patched things, they haven’t upgraded. But some of it is real obfuscation, where they make it look like they have the secure version when they don’t.”
A Huawei spokesperson denied these accusations, saying that the comments were “misleading” and that the company has a history of “delivering secure, trustworthy, and high-quality products.”
Both Nokia and Huawei’s comments are not entirely accurate. While it is ostensibly true that President Trump is restricting Huawei products (including 5G infrastructure) from the United States due to security concerns, the United States has also banned Huawei’s smartphones from being sold in the country.
PCMag inadvertently tested the enforcement of this ban when we tried to ship a Huawei phone from the UK to the US. The ensuing saga kicked off an international incident.
While Huawei’s networking equipment has reportedly been buggy, there is no evidence that Huawei’s phones are a risk to users in the United States; it is likely the Trump administration is forbidding their sale as part of the broader US trade war with China.
However, Huawei has also not consistently delivered secure products as its spokesperson claimed. It was recently discovered that the company’s MateBook laptops had a flaw by which hackers could gain elevated system privileges and subsequently compromise and control the machine.
Huawei has been the subject of much debate in the United States and overseas, especially in the United Kingdom. Telecom companies have been pressuring the government to come to a decision about whether the Chinese company’s telecom infrastructure equipment is safe to use in 5G networks.
While other companies have said that using Huawei’s equipment is risky, British intelligence has reportedly said that any concerns are “manageable.”